Sean O'Driscoll looks to strike the right balance with City
New Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll is promising to deploy players in their strongest positions when he takes charge of his first game against Leeds at Elland Road tomorrow.
O'Driscoll has had just four days in which to assess City's squad since succeeding Derek McInnes in the Ashton Gate hot-seat.
And his focus is on keeping things simple.
O'Driscoll said: "It is difficult after just four days to ascertain my best eleven. I have an eleven in my head, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating when we play at Leeds.
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"I'm quite flexible in my approach, but my principles are fairly rigid.
"You don't put round pegs in square holes. Players want to play in a position they can do well in.
Right-sided defenders want to play on the right hand side. Playing left footers on the right creates an awful problem for people.
"I'm after a balance and an understanding of where players' strengths lie and where their weaknesses lie.
"I'm after a game-plan and a contingency plan and I want to make sure they know what they are doing at set plays, because that is the only criteria we know about.
"I want to put out a team that can express itself in a hostile atmosphere. If we can get 11 people who tick all those boxes, then we will give ourselves a good chance.
"I'm a big believer in sticking to principles. If we lose the ball, react in the right manner. That is something everybody should understand and be able to do.
"We have to defend compactly and use the ball well. If we need 25 passes to score a goal, then that is going to put pressure on people."
City may be in a parlous position at the foot of the table, six points adrift of safety, but O'Driscoll is doing hit utmost to create an environment in which his players can relax and express themselves.
After three days spent on the training ground with his new charges, he admitted: "There has been a little bit of uncertainty.
"When a new person comes in, nobody is quite sure what he wants or what his philosophy is. As you can imagine, everyone is walking on eggshells a bit.
"I'm trying to get the message across that we are all in this together as a collective. I've tried to include them in everything we have done.
"I've asked people's opinion, because I need to know where they are and how they feel. From my point of view, they have given me everything I have asked of them, as you would expect."
Meanwhile, centre-back Stephen McManus has returned to Middlesbrough at the end of his loan spell and O'Driscoll has no plans to bring him back to Ashton Gate at any time in the future.
But he wants longer to assess the out-of-contract pair of Mark Wilson and Matthew Bates and both will spend next week training with City's first team squad. Trialist Frank Feltscher has departed without being offered a deal.